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Sandy 12, Fema 10, Us 7, Florida 6, Steve 5, America 5, Massachusetts 5, Iowa 4, Wisconsin 4, Citi 3, Msnbc 3, Chuck Todd 3, Washington 2, Chuck 2, Lawrence 2, Obama 2, Shepard 2, Ari 2, Andrea Mitchell 2, Chris Christie 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    October 29, 2012
    9:00 - 9:59am PDT  

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and be co-host of msnbc's "the cycle" steve kornacki. >> we've gone with that for a while. >> that's going in my prompt ter for his introduction. >> i'm going to continue to open the show and we can talk more. >> you haven't actually invited us to speak? >> not yet. >> there are no rules for you, lawrence. >> hurricane sandy could be a spoiler down the stretch but which candidate will suffer the bigger punch? set to make landfall in the northeast eight hours from now, but high winds and heavy surf is hammering coastal states. governor romney has a packed campaign schedule holding an event in ohio and stumping in iowa and wisconsin later today. meanwhile, president obama is in a holding pattern, kangs ling events in ohio and florida to return to washington and monitor the storm. the white house canceled the president's trip to wisconsin scheduled for tomorrow. but while voters won't see him on the trail they will see him in the role of commander in chief including later this hour
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when he delivers a statement on the hurricane from the white house. and perhaps voters will be wondering how a president romney might handle the very same situation. one indication comes from a primary debate in june of last year, when governor romney made the case for shutting down fema and passing the responsibility on to the states. >> fema is about to run out of money and some people say do it on a case-by-case basis and some who say maybe we're learning a lesson here the states should take on more of this role. >> absolutely. every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. and if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector that's even better. we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. >> including disaster relief? >> we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. it is simply immoral in my view. for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debt and pass them on to our kids, knowing
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full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off makes no sense at all. >> just to recap, governor romney, at least the governor romney of 2011, believed the government could not afford programs like fema and i said it was immoral and made no sense to keep spending money on disaster relief and even better to send these to the private sector. when reached for a statement, romney's campaign of 2012 told us, governor romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions. as the first responders states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities and to direct resources and assist tons where they are needed most. this includes help from the federal government and fema. a romney campaign official also says, quote, of course he doesn't want to abolish fema. one week before election day and 800-mile wide hurricane is bearing down on 60 million people across a dozens states. the damage may be upwards of $18
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billion and could produce life-threatening conditions. it's taken the lives of 65 people as it powered through the caribbean. the october surprise is here in a time of crisis voters must determine whether they want governor romney at the helm and if he there is what kind of relief will be on offer. the paradox of the mittens, obfuscation and adjusted policy continues. lawrence? >> excuse me. i'm doing a note to self about use that romney video tonight. >> please do, my friend. >> if the power is still on in this building and we're still doing -- >> please do. if that old video archive is still up an running. >> that's good. what you call on point. >> yes. >> for this particular news cycle. >> it is. john king interrupts him and says even for disaster relief and he continues on saying it's immoral and makes no sense. >> that's the wonderful version of ideological consistency that occasionally erupts in republican primaries. when they're going way over into
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territory, which is what we was trying to do. we'll see how he handles the -- be that video fwigz to be on a loop on this network and others for the next couple days. >> and you know, steve, i want to ask you in terms of looking -- we don't know the effects of the storm and its toll will be and we are concerned about the damage that it may cause and the lives that may be lost and any victims that are in the way of the storm, but in terms of the campaign, the fact that we are one week out from the election, the question is, how does each candidate account for this? and it looks like obama is going to stay in washington, take on the role of commander in chief as he probably has to. the bigger question is, what does mitt romney do? how does he -- what does had he do as far as the optics of looking like he's sitting on his hands and waiting for this? >> there isn't really a choice for either one. if you're the president of the united states you have no choice but to switch into commander in
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chief mode and show leadership and you're not going to be getting the politics at a time like this. romney, you can't switch into that mode, if you switch off of candidate mode, then you're just sort of nothing. you don't have an official platform. the media will not necessarily be coming to you to listen to you at all, you're ceding stajts to obama. look at the position that romney is in, if he was in a better position he could potentially afford do that. but he's running two or three points hoinds in the key swing states without any momentum in any of those states. he needs to do something proactively to generate momentum in wisconsin and iowa and states like that. if he says i'm going to suspend my campaign during this, he lets obama take the stage for the commander in chief the next few days and romney disappears. risk looking too political but he doesn't have a choice. >> it's worth noting we got an update that team romney released a statement on scheduling for today and tomorrow, a director writes, quote, out of
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sensitivity for the millions of americans in the path of the hurricane we are canceling events tonight. they say they are canceling all events scheduled for governor romney and congressman ryan on tuesday. joining us to talk about this, live from the white house, is nbc's chuck todd. chuck, we were a 're talking abg a candidate right now a week before election day and also not wanting to seem overtly political in a time of national crisis. your assessment of the situation? >> well, i'm not surprised that they went ahead and canceled it. what was he going to say? it was like the president this morning, be i was surprised when he went ahead and left last night from here to wake up in orlando and i think they realized they woke up in the morning going what is he going to say at this rally, at a campaign rally. are you going to go one of your rifts against the candidate. the same calculus was done by the romney folks. anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of ub lick opinion. better to in this case plead
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political, take the fifth, don't say anything, take two days off and crede the turf because the potential to step in it, to say something to look and act insensitive, like even this morning they put out something the romney campaign about how, you know, he was focused, wanted to get updates on the disaster called republican governors bob mcdonnell and chris christie, why not the democratic governors too. you knew what they meant, calling people he knew and was trying to get some updates but at the same time it looked a little too partisan, wait a minute, only focused on the states with republican governors and don't want any of that. this is a case they decided there is no good that comes out of campaigning even if you're out there on your own, that you can only create a problem for you and only going to get attention if you do something that is out of context or out of sorts. >> chuck, what do you make of that, of that footage from the primary campaign when romney is talking about basically handing -- ending federal funding for fema and handing over disaster relief to the
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states. do you think that comes back to bite him later on in the week after the hurricane has sort of passed through most of the u.s.? >> i don't know if there's enough time, if this -- you try to turn this into a campaign tactic, whether this is the case. i mean i think that fema is something that is quite popular in the state of florida so it's something that would not go over well, i think with floridians but again, when do you want to prosecute that political argument? and you do so too soon, you run the risk of looking like you're trying to -- you're overly cynical and political. there's some -- you have to be careful in how you prosecute the politics of that. that said if that is something that catches fire and he feels he's on the defensive about, i go back, fema is popular in the state of florida. my family went through some problems in '04 and '05 during the storms when florida was getting bombarded and both jeb bush and fee ma are popular in the state of florida because of
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it. >> and you talk about disaster assistance on hold, bring up hurricane katrina and memories of the bush administration which does not play well for republicans. thank you as always to chuck todd, live from the white house. >> okay. >> we will be asking you many more questions in the coming days and have the president's remarks live later this hour. ari, talk about president obama and sort of his role in all of this, whichs is to say he has to act as the commander in chief, a tricky ballet for romney and the white house as well. appear to be above it all, yuts understanding he has a couple days left and has to make his convincing argument before november 6th. >> one job in america that's 24/7 and that's the president. >> oh, no. you have not seen the way th this -- the way she goes at this job. >> i love you for that but i could never oversee any disaster -- >> maybe that's the next segment as we talk about alex wagner versus president obama and get into that. >> keep it coming.
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>> but people know that. people know that in their gut. and depending on the kind of president you are, ronald reagan talked about how government is the problem. president obama is a different kind of president and yes, government is part of the solution here, that dovetails with what you were discussing with chuck todd. i don't think you to prosecute that argument very politically or directly. you go do the job and you coordinate and you lead and the american people will see that. it's a little reminiscent, ironically, of the october surprise that we had last cycle except president -- it was not president obama, it was then senator obama didn't have an incumbent in the race and you had the american people looking at a financial crisis, not unlike a storm and the first moments you don't know what, why, you're just scared. and i think what at lot of voters took away from that, was then senator obama seemed like a calm, good, steady leader. >> i want to go back to the romney thing. it was in the same debate if you'll remember that ron paul
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jumped in and started talking about how we need to lack at some of our disaster relief and put it into the hands of the churches. i would advise finding that as well. we're talking about the party that romney would have to come in and wrangle in that is saying the churches should be helping when the power is down and the trees are down. really? >> it turns the argument back to mitt romney doesn't care about everybody. right here it is, be the question of disaster relief. let's privatize it, send it to the private sector. it does reinforce that narrative. >> what i've been wondering about is there enough time left for the obama campaign to do a commercial with that video that you just showed? the problem is, there's this whole kind of dignity aftermath that you have to maintain so you don't get aused by the immediate -- accused of the media by exploiting this event. this is what government is about and by the way, it's one of those other great things that the debates missed as they always do. there will always be something that matters in the last week
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that was never mentioned in the debates. and i just think that there's this video gold of romney saying if i'm president now, my hope is that i'd be supplying you with nothing. that is my hope. i don't know what congress would allow me to do but that's my hope. the idea that we will construct some sort of media notion of what is right, that says, no, you must not remind people of that, you the obama team must not do a commercial that goes into virginia and reminds people of that. >> or florida. and the fact he's catching in a moral argument the most distasteful aspect to it. not just about trimming the budget and getting your arms around the deficit, it's about the world -- >> that's exactly the kind of things voters should know. the real way to get them to know it is through these ads. that's what reaches them. that's why they raise that money. >> while lawrence is had hitting on something important because this happens with other --
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>> that's what i do. no. >> it's barometric -- >> i'm here to bring the importance. >> the gold nugget of the news cycle. >> but it is so true, that we get this lecture every time something terrible happens. we got it in on gun control when we looked at gun tragedies which is an issue, by the way, where both nominees i think are fairly poor on the policy. but even still, even though it was a bipartisan neglect of gun control this narrative we can't talk about this. i think it's the opposite. with dignity you can still discuss the policy implications. >> can i just quickly say for the rest of the campaign, you don't have to listen to me when i make a prediction, i said i think romney has to keep campaigning and not ten seconds later they cancel the next two days. >> please, just so you know, no one needed that warning. >> please don't think that we're all just take -- >> we're going to take a little break so steve can recollect
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himself and deal with the humiliation. after the break hurricane sandy is expected to take a serious toll on the jersey shore. governor chris christie has a warning for those who live in the highest risk areas. >> i think all of our mothers taught us if we could avoid it, don't be stupid. so don't be stupid, get out. and go to higher, safer ground. i turn out to be right and you turn out to be dead that's not a great equation. >> not a great equation at all. president obama is set to make a statement on sandy in a few minutes. we will bring you his remarks live and a live report on sandy coming up next on "now." bad!
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i truly believe that if we can get the deficit and debt issue solved, which i believe we can get done, you know, in the lame duck or in the immediate aftermath of the lame duck, then that clears a way a lot of the ideological underbrush and then, you know, now we can start looking at a whole bunch of other issues that, as i said, historically have not been that ideological. >> that was president obama on "morning joe" hinting that partisan gridlock could clear once democrats and republicans reach a deal on the fiscal cliff. early on in his term president obama had hopes of working with congress, but republicans intent on defeating him made that close to impossible. would a president romney have an easier time working across the aisle? the des moines register seems to say yes. in its endorsement of romney the first republican to receive the backing in 40 years the editorial board writes --
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in recent weeks, romney has been pointing to his alleged record of bipartisan saying yesterday that he would work with democrats as long as they're the good ones. >> we're going to have to do something that has been done in the past in this country, reach across the aisle, we're going to have to find good democrats. good democrats love america too. we have to reach across the aisle, work together, collaborate, meet and fight for the american people and we will. >> it is unclear who mitt romney considers to be, quote, good democrats. but it's worth noting that when governor romney was the governor of massachusetts, he and the democratic controlled legislature were hardly on good terms. though he and the lawmakers reached a deal on health care reform "the new york times" reported this month --
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steve, i always go to you when we talk about massachusetts politics. >> i like that. >> i really could go to lawrence. >> i defer to steve. >> for another great prediction, right? >> making predictions these days. >> you won't see me after that. >> historical analysis, my friend. >> yep. >> the des moines register endorsement i'm not sure how much any of these newspapers are going to affect the race but for obama whose campaign began in iowa it's not a nice thing that des moines register has endorsed mitt romney given the fact that they haven't done so in decades. why is there this narrative that mitt romney is somehow a guy who's going to reach across the aisle given his track record as
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a governor when he did not do that at all? >> right. i mean in the sense that anything that was accomplished in massachusetts when mitt romney was governor was by definition bipartisan, because you had overwhelming democratic control of both houses, he can make that claim. he had bad relationships with the legislatures in that state. part was it wasn't a partisan thing, it was his style. he set himself apart from the legislato legislators, had a separate elevator, those kind of things. i always thought the first two years of romney's governorship when he tried, for instance, to get massachusetts into a regional greenhouse gas initiative the first two years were very moderate, even a little liberal. it was the abrupt moment at the end of 2004 when he decided i can't be -- get re-elected running for governor of this state on this platform and simultaneously position myself to run for the presidency. that's when he moved really far to the right. and i think the -- what i'm seeing in the des moines register endorsement and others like that, this belief na you're
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going to get the romney of 2003 and 2004, and if you're looking at how any president is going bebehave, look at what their party label is. he's a republican president, going to be in charge of basically implementing a republican agenda and we know what republican agenda is. >> vice president joe biden issued a warning on that front. listen to what he had to say about romney and who he is beholden to. >> ask him a question, when have you ever seen governor romney take on the establishment of his party? what do you think the prospects are that governor romney would attempt to do anything he now says he supports? q. what do you think the chances of him doing that with the republican controlled congress to keep the congress? what do you think the chances are he's going to tell the tea party guys you're dead wrong. that's what he ae's saying now.
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>> romney has admitted there may be good democrats in the world and they may care about america but at the end of the day is that proof that he will work with democrats and take a moderate position given his track record thus far in listening to the tea party and refusing to plant a flag in the grounts on anything running counter to the republican agenda. >> i am a registered democrat because i thought they hated america. that's news to me. but second of all -- >> i want to point out liz is not speaking for the democratic party. >> i am not. >> but what i wanted to say was, you know, the amount of vetoes that -- it was 750 overrides of romney vetoing things. a, what? b, he's not winning massachusetts. how come nobody brings that up? he is nowhere near going to win massachusetts or any other state he owns homes in. he is losing every one of those states. to make this analogy that he was really great and brought people
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together, he -- hunt and pecked 844 pieces of legislation and was overridden 750 times. why is that good? >> his campaign is running a red state campaign. with the -- he knows he has to win ohio, there are tossup states but mitt romney has appeals to the conservative base of his party and now is making a last-minute pivot but at the end of the day as the vice president poingz points out can you imagine mitt romney standing up to the tea party in congress and saying stand down. >> remember on the day -- if he were to win this election, on november 7th he starts running for re-election in the republican party where they don't mind challenging you from the right if you start swerving in any way toward the center just ask george w. bush's father how that works. and so he would absolutely be enslaved to whatever the dictates were of the house republicans and we know what they would be and so you can't -- you can't -- and
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there's no point in looking at his past anyway. you know, he's -- there's never been a politician where past means less. >> yeah, exactly. >> and there's such a misnomer with romney care. that was really massachusetts legislature care, they wrote that bill. they dictated that bill. they positioned it in such a way he had to sign it. they knew where the sign line was. and where the veto line was. and they pushed it right up to there and he did what governors do which is sign. he wasn't in there creating that legislation. >> the last question before we go to break, ari, the president's contention that the fever is going to break somehow and a lot of folks are pontiff cating what happens to the republican party do they say we were too conservative, not conservative enough, if the tea party still has a seat in congress and more power in the senate, what does that mean for the president in terms of getting legislation passed? >> what is the political infrastructure. a lot of people are talking about mitt romney liked to meet with people, ask dick lugar and
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bennett in utah how bipartisan is greeted within the infrastructure of this party, it is a nonstarter. >> the president should be noted has not had a lot of meetings with leadership in congress of late, perhaps that fever will break after the election. we shall see. after we come back, delaware is more than one of a dozen of states that has declared a state of emergency. we will have a live update and coming up, his now iconic painting of then candidate barack obama inspires hope but the artist hopes to inspire change in campaign finance. we will ask berry about his new initiative when he joins us live just ahead. time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. seth works boston area renaissance fares, haunted houses and night clubs. he hawks from his bone shop
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eastern seaboard, mid-atlantic going north, that you need to take this very seriously. >> we are continuing to monitor hurricane sandy as it gets closer to making landfall. the weather channel's mike seidel is in point pleasant, new jersey. mike, if you can give us an update on the latest? >> good afternoon, alex. it is going downhill fast with these winds. i was out on the beach with irene for over 12 hours and this is about when i felt it. this storm is still a couple hundred miles away and the winds are gusting over 50 miles per hour. the highest surge will come in at about later this evening and go through this evening we will see the surge 6 to 8 feet. look at the atlantic. it is just ramped up, 10 to 12 footers out there. this is low tide. normally on a typical day you would have 150 feet of beach. it's all gone. and as that next high tide comes in we're going to see the worst of the beach erosion, coastal damage. this whole beach area will be
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rearranged. so far no reports of any significant damage, but some of the areas south of here, the dunes have been eaten by the wave action and some of the local authorities think some of those homes are going to be hit and fall into the atlantic later on tonight. so, it's only going to get worse from here and inland when these winds crank up over 60 hils per hour, d.c., baltimore, philly away from the beaches this afternoon and tonight that's going to shut down power to millions. once we get up to that threshold. we've had thousands lose power but we have a long way to go with the system. we'll be out here on the beach getting sand blasted and eventually we'll have to go away from the beach because of the wind and the water. >> nine states have declared a state of "morning joe state of emergency. be safe. we will be tracking sandy throughout the day here and more information visit weather.com. and we are waiting for president obama to speak about hurricane sandy live from the white house briefing room this
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in 2008 artist shepard ferry inspired many with his barack obama hope poster. as a supporter of unpack.org, a group aimed at reducing the influence of money in politics he presided over an art competition to select an image to inspire others. the winner 21-year-old nashville artist landon wicks created this image showing the monopoly man rich uncle penny bags along with the message keep money out of politics. ferry and obama supporters says, quote -- that effort comes against this backdrop. last week, the obama and romney campaigns surpassed the $2 billion mark in fund-raising which doesn't include the roughly 300 million spent by outside groups.
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the nonpartisan center for responsibility politics found in 2010 the candidate with the most money won 85% of all house races and 83% of all senate races. shepard ferry joins us now from burbank, california. shepard, great to see you. let's talk about your latest initiative. there are a couple things i want to ask you about. first the idea of getting money out of politics which seems very much a noble effort, my friend, but it is definitely at this point a prerequisite for anyone running for statewide or national office. so how do you do it? >> well, i think just creating awareness about the problem itself, it wasn't even addressed in the debates and be a lot of people just don't understand how insidious the problem is, so creating im imaginary that's easily understandable and just getting the issue out on the table so that people can push is a top priority. >> i want to open this up to our package a little bit. we talk about the influence of money and politics and a lot of
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blame being tossed around. it's worth noting in 2008 president obama was the one that became the first presidential contender to refuse all kinds -- all forms of public financing which many said put the nail in the coffin in terms of campaign finance reform. >> yeah. i mean the campaign finance system we've had obama opted out of, i don't know what the future of that is. if the super pacs are ever going to go away we're a long ways from that happening. i do think in some ways we can overstate the impact of money on these races. we spent a lot of time saying obama was going to get swamped by advertising, probably going to have more money in their campaign but with the outside groups factored in. i think the presidential race and the polls have sort of shown this, he's kind of immune to that. at the presidential level so much free media coverage. everybody can if follow this race without looking at television advertising. as long as you can reach a threshold at the presidential level i don't think money will be the reason you win or lose a
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race. where money matters more, the interesting test, i don't know what's going to happen, what about the house and senate races. the house races where there's really no free media coverage, if you have these super pacs coming in just now and targeting a few districts here and there, with candidates who nobody -- who is going to go into the voting booth in a week and a half never heard of, the money can have a bigger impact there. >> shepherd, the question like almost like a nuclear arms race, you have to have it to run. but at the same time it creates a class of candidates which is to say, i almost think the notion that you've got to raise this amount of money discourages people from engaging in the democratic process, becoming candidates. >> well, yes, it's that, because there's a sort of legalized bribery that's there that if you don't pander to the people who can finance your campaign, and owe them a favor, you won't be a viable candidate. so i really want democracy to be restored to each individual's vote counts the same amount and
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politicians shape policy to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. >> shepard, the other thing, another poster that came across our desk that you worked on or created was encouraging people to go to the ballot box and vote which was a big concern, the turnout numbers, the numbers of voters that go to the polls and do early voting this election cycle, given the fact that i think every -- almost every college dorm room in america at one point had a shepard ferry hope poster in it, i wonder what you make and can share with us in terms of youth enthusiasm around this election. actually in 2008, the participation of young voters was only 2% greater than it was in previous elections but obama just won the young vote by a huge margin. you know, as an artist, as someone who was engaged in that last election cycle what do you make of this one in terms of getting college kids, 18 to 25-year-olds out to the polls? >> 2008 was about hope, i think 2012 is about action and if you sit on the sidelines and don't vote you're allowing people to
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shape the system that may not have your best interest in mind. so i would say that regardless of the flaws of the system, it's very important to weigh in on how it moves forward. and that's -- that's an absolute imperative thing and i think outside pressure is important too, but the first thing you need to do next week is vote. >> one more question real quickly before we go. the president said he wanted -- he said at the read it conference consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn citizens united. a bold statement. your level of optimism about that, actually happening? >> i think the fact that he said it in response to questions on the red it forum tells you where it fits into the priority stat. it was a reactive answer. both parties use some of these decisions in super pacs to avoid the long-standing hypocrisy issue here, they isn't supported public funding of elections. what mr. berry is talking about,
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there is a barrier for regular people to run and get involved that's about funding your own campaign. senator durbin has a bill fair elections now act that would do public funding for members of congress, has not gotten support from this white house. i would give both parties low grades on these issues. >> nonetheless, shepard, i think your point about awareness, getting people engaged and bringing them a visual image that reminds them of what's going on is important. congratulations on that and thank you as always for your time and your work. >> thank you for having me, alex. >> president obama is expected to deliver a statement on hurricane sandy in just a few momentsp you're looking live at the white house press briefing room where he is set to speak. we will bring you his remarks live up ahead. jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire [ male announcer ] use any citi® card
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impacting the campaign schedule. joy reid managing editor of the grio.com, the president has put his campaign on hold. >> right. absolutely. because this is -- these are one of those issues that can be a big advantage for an incumbent president or a big problem. it's an advantage because the president gets to be seen doing the work of being the leader of the country and directing the response, showing personal compassion. it gives him that big stage that a challenger can't match. so these can be important moments. of course, the real importance here is making sure the american people are safe, the people who need help get it. that's his priority and not the campaign. >> as the president puts, he is not traveling but the ground game, interesting statistics in the politico playbook this weekend, obama's field operation is massive, 131 offices in ohio compared to romney's 39. 68 in iowa, compared to romney's 14. they have been organizing for a long time and it's showing.
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>> yeah. i visited those field offices in ohio last time around and you could see that this were -- they were building something to stay. they were not going to pull up stakes and forget this little office location. they've stayed with it. they learned in 2008 that that's exactly what won the election, be that they just flipped 60,000 votes that would have been john kerry's, they had an amazing ohio ground game in 2008 and so the obama team knows that lesson. >> you know we look at what changes voters' minds or persuades people to vote one way or another. time and time again we're told it's face-to-face human to human interaction which would imply having a good ground game, organized field office and operation is going to be good for the president, especially right now where he is in the white house and not participating in the campaign as much. >> that's exactly right. mitt romney's campaign has about 300 field offices. >> i have to cut you off. listen to what president has to
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say about hurricane sandy. >> briefing from our emergency response teams, including fema, and agencies that are going to be helpful in the response and recovery efforts, the department of energy, the department of transportation, the department of health -- homeland security and the department of health and human services. obviously everybody is aware at this point that this is going to be a big and powerful storm. and all across the eastern seaboard i think everybody is taking the appropriate preparations. i've spoken to all the governors in all these states. they have issued emergency declarations. those have been turned around quickly here in the white house. we have prepositioned assets so that fema personnel are working closely with state and local governments. we're making sure that food and water and emergency generation is available for those communities that are going to be hardest hit. we anticipate that the center of
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the storm is going to hit landfall some time this evening. but because of the nature of this storm, we are certain that this is going to be a slow-moving process through a wide swath of the country and millions of people are going to be affected. so, the most important message that i have for the public right now is please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. when they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. do not delay. don't pause. don't question the instructions that are being given because this is a serious storm and it could potentially have fatal consequences if people haven't acted quickly. the good news is, is that the governors and local officials i think have had a few days of preparation. there's been extraordinarily close coordination between state, federal and local governments. and so we're confident that the
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assets are prepositioned for an effective response in the aftermath of the storm. but keep in mind, that for folks who are not following instructions, if you are not evacuating when you've been asked to evacuate, you're putting first responders at danger. we're going to have to have search and rescue teams in and around multiple states all at the same time and although they've got coast guard and the department of defense all positioned, if the public's not following instructions that makes it more dangerous for people and it means that we could have fatalities that could have been avoided. transportation is going to be tied up for a long time. and probably the most significant impact for a lot of people in addition to flooding, is going to be getting power back on. we anticipate that there are going to be a lot of trees down, a lot of water, and our -- despite the fact that power companies are working closely with their various state officials and local officials, to make sure that they are
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bringing in as many assets as possible, and getting those ready in preparation for the storm, the fact is that lot of these emergency crews are not going to be able to get into positions to start restoring power until some of the winds have died down. because of the nature of the storm that may take several days. so, the public should anticipate that there's going to be a lot of power outages and it may take time for that power to get back on. the same is true with transportation. a lot of backlogs and even after the storm has cleared, it's going to take considerable amount of time for airlines, subways, trains, and so forth potentially to get back, you know, on schedule depending on the amount of damage that has occurred. let me summarize just by saying that i'm extraordinarily grateful for the cooperation of our state and local officials. the conversations that i've had with all the governors indicate that at this point there are no
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unmet needs. i think everybody is taking this very seriously. we've got prepositioned all the resources that we need, but right now, the key is to make sure that the public is following instructions for those of you who still need additional information, about how to respond, you can go to ready.gov, that's ready.gov and that website should provide you with all the information that your family needs in terms of how you can prepare for this storm. our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people who are potentially affected. we are extraordinarily grateful for our first responders because they're going to be working 24/7 around the clock nonstop. and i want to make sure that our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who may end up dealing with a very difficult situation over the next several days. last point i'll make, though. you know, this is going to be a big storm, a difficult storm.
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the great thing about america is when we go through tough times like this, we all pull together. we look out for our friends, we look out for our neighbors, and, you know, we set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness and that's what i anticipate is going to happen here. i want to thank all the federal teams, state and local teams in place. i'm confident that we're ready. but i think the public needs to prepare for the fact that this is going to take a long time for us to clean up. the good news is, we will clean up and we will get through this. all right. >> the impact of the elections, sir? >> i am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. i'm worried about the impact on families and the impact on our first responders. i'm worried about the impact on our economy. and on transportation. you know, the election will take care of itself next week. right now, our number one
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priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search and rescue teams are going to be in place, people will get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track. >> what kind of -- [ inaudible ]. >> that was president obama at the white house issuing a stern warning to americans about the severity of the storm. hurricane sandy traveling, of course, up the east coast. you know, lawrence, you listen to the president and think about the magnitude of this storm, the millions without power this is the end of the election. this is what is going to be dot nom dant narrative. >> the campaign could be functionally over as we know it. the aftermath could easily go on into saturday and there isn't -- the sunday, monday before the tuesday election is usually just a certain kind of fly around that people ignore because there's something ritualistic about it. this is going to be fascinating.
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it could be the campaign might be functionally over. >> ari? >> i think that the romney campaign made a substantive and political error in the way they responded to a different crisis in libya and all eyes will also be on the challenger to see how he deals with lawrence o'donnell is saying, a time where the political argument season may have closed. will they be able to handle that and fall back or not? it will be very interesting to watch. >> joy, we have some late-breaking news that "the wall street journal" is reporting they may delay the release of the unemployment numbers for october until after -- possibly potentially after the election. >> yeah. i mean it's interesting. that was expected to be one of the other milestones in the sort of process. if they would have gone down that would have been a milestone in the president's favor. up it would not have been in his favor. >> although i will say, we talked to stu rothenberg about the unemployment numbers and the unemployment rate matters but collectively we all sort of -- >> less than we think.
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>> hasn't moved the poll numbers as much. >> when things like this happen, we find out the importance of government. s because there are certain things that only government can do and in this case only the federal government, the government that's been run against by one of the political parties, only government can do and that government is important in people's lives. >> indeed a very effective case for the federal government, steve. >> yeah. i'm thinking here, you know, earlier i put my foot in my mouth and said romney has to keep campaigning but think about this, if the campaign is functionally over what is the current reality that would be locked in place the next week, the national horse race i guess is tied, maybe a very, very slight lead for romney in the national horse race but this clear advantage for obama in ohio, in wisconsin, in the state that romney has to win to get to 270. and if romney is not going to be able to really go out there and press his case the next week and instead the next week dominated by president obama being the president, in a time of crisis, i do have a hard time, you know, it's a -- there's all sorts of, you know, as joy said, a
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katrina, blow up in obama's face politically that's possible but short of that i don't know what romney could proactively do in this environment to erase that? >> it is a historic storm and historic race and a moment in history. a lot of history in one sentence. thank you to ari, lawrence, joy and steve. you can catch steve on "the cycle" at 3:00 p.m. and, of course, you can and must catch lawrence -- >> oh, no. we're not so sure about that. we may not have power in the building at 10:00 p.m. >> you'll do it by candlelight because you're a good soldier. >> all right. >> the news never stops. let them have the last word at 10:00 on msnbc. see you back at noon eastern, 9:00 pacific joined by richard, curt, and nicolas. until then find us at facebook.com/now with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. a lot going on this afternoon. over to you. >> thanks so much, alex. we are tracking hurricane sandy with live reports from up and down the east coast. widespread flooding already happening hours ahead of sandy's landfall. we'll check in with delaware
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governor jack markell and pennsylvania senator bob casey ahead and hear from both campaigns, all that next on "andrea mitchell reports." we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership.
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